For business travellers, affordability, comfort, location and efficiency are all paramount. Yet luxury hotels often offer unnecessary extras and charge accordingly. Faced by this paradigm, entrepreneur Marc Wachsberger, who has a background in mergers and acquisitions, was inspired to provide a competitive offering for business travellers and started EAH Executive Apartments and Hotels in 2008.
“Going into the hospitality business came from a simple finance angle – why do hotels charge so much and yet residential apartments lease for so little? We decided to “convert” residential apartments into short-term rentals that compete with the hotel industry on price, and yet offer more space, and are perfect for corporate stays and budgets,” he explains.
Recently relaunched as The Capital, the group, which has three to five-star accommodation offerings is focused on growth and enduring value propositions. Speaking about the rebranding, Wachsberger emphasises the need for the company to be seen as a group.
“A group implies brand and service standards – you should get the same great service and facilities no matter where you stay with us and this is an important foundation in order to meet our growth objectives of many properties in many locations in the medium term. As for the brand, we needed an identity that better represents what our values have always been – value, space, service and reliability.”
With massive growth plans in the next few years, The Capital is poised to offer more business travellers an attractive accommodation alternative in SA and beyond.
We focus on business hotels where we can differentiate from our competitors by offering short-, medium- and long-term stay apartments and hotels.
“We therefore identify locations suitable for business travel – we will soon be in Pretoria, Cape Town and Umhlanga but don’t expect to find us on the beach.We are targeting 17 properties by 2018 – we have six at the moment with another one under construction (Bath ave in Rosebank) and four more under architecture (Cape Town and Pretoria). To achieve this we have to develop or acquire two to three properties per year.” There are also plans to expand into Africa with properties in Windhoek, Namibia and Gaborone, Botswana.
Describing themselves as the “first truly entrepreneurial hotel group” The Capital own and operate all the properties and hotels in their portfolio. “Most of our competitors don’t do this and so they are less incentivised to perform – they don’t lie awake at night thinking of the implications of failure and therefore ensuring success,” says Wachsberger. “This is the distinction of an entrepreneurial hotel – we live it and breathe it.”
In terms of attracting local and international business travellers, The Capital is well aware of the prevalence of word of mouth marketing. “The only way to get an edge in today’s market is to ensure guests are happy and write positive reviews,” says Wachsberger. “It’s a transparent market today with the internet where other guests rather than just sales people do the selling.
In terms of entrepreneurship, Wachsberger emphasises one piece of advice. “Be laser-focused on what you do best and don’t chase every deal. In other words, say no to small deals that are not your core business.”